Monday, August 10, 2009

A FOCUS Update

By Bruce Spiess, M.D.

The FOCUS Initiative is making strong progress through the summer months. At the SCA Annual Meeting in San Antonio, the curtains were pulled back for a slight peek into the initial data regarding human errors in the cardiac operating rooms. At that meeting the data was described as “robust”, meaning a number of problems had been uncovered. We are happy to report that since the Annual Meeting, the remainder of site visits and follow-up questionnaires have all been completed. The Johns Hopkins University Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care (JHUIQPC) is now hard at work collating the data and inputting it into computers for analysis. That process is huge. As part of their analysis, JHUIQPC has undertaken a review of the data using the National Reporting and Learning System from the United Kingdom, which is the largest known error reporting system in the world.

FOCUS will convene a meeting in Baltimore at JHUIQPC on August 13, 2009 for an initial review of data. At this meeting a number or representatives from the FOCUS leadership, data management committee and consultants will be present as well as the JHUIQPC team. Importantly, leadership from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and AORN are expected to attend. Enthusiasm from other associations is growing so that we can all work together to improve patient care. Letters and phone contacts have been completed to AMSECT and we hope to solicit their participation/sponsorship of FOCUS in the future.

The committees within the FOCUS Initiative have been formed and their charges have been given to them. Notably, the publications committee is moving forward with a written process with regards to authorship and participation in publications from FOCUS data. This process should be available to all for review through our FOCUS web site. Once our August meeting is complete, we will develop our next steps based on the data obtained at our initial sites. To become involved as a volunteer with FOCUS, you can contact the SCA Foundation via email at